The Sixteenth Annual Berkeley Undergraduate Prize for Architectural Design Excellence 2014
Berkeley Prize 2014

Sheila Malingu - Proposal

Adaptable options from the "Sustainable City Year"

“And these enemies too, poverty, disease and ignorance – we shall overcome.” (Lyndon B Johnson, President of the United States of America; March 15, 1965).

Kampala City is suffering under the yoke of informal settlements. Recently, a nation-wide high circulation newspaper “The New Vision” harangued Kampala residents, “… you live in a slum; yes you do!” A few days earlier, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development had reported that between forty-nine and sixty-four percent of Uganda’s urban dwellers lived in informal settlements (slums). The Ministry, in agreement with UN-Habitat, had gone on to define slums as neighborhoods with the following characteristics: (i) inadequate access to safe water, (ii) inadequate access to sanitation and other infrastructure, (iii) insecure residential status, (iv) poor structural quality of housing, and (v) overcrowding.

In other words, the informal settlement – Kampala’s most popular human habitation – is the antithesis of healthful settings. In many parts of the city the situation is so dire that, for example, deprived residents have invented a notorious sanitary vehicle called the “flying toilet” in place of the little affordable traditional latrine or the water-borne toilet. Its most developed variation has a thin polythene dome inflated with waste, flying blindly through narrow alleys in the total darkness of the night. In these places prevalence of treatable diseases is high; the sick are unable to drag themselves out of poverty through employment; and the poor cannot afford education: neither for themselves nor for their children. Disease, poverty and ignorance are the ever present mortal enemy lurking in the shadows of every informal settlement in the city, waiting to strike.

In a conscious effort to attract the attention of the built environment professionals towards designing sustainable neighborhoods, a network of civil society organizations in Kampala, called Shelter and Settlements Alternatives (, organized an affordable shelters design competition for built environment undergraduate students from Makerere University and Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi. That was in 2013 and the effort was for just that one year. The designs, having been duly exhibited, were tucked away by the conscientious organizers. This competition had the capacity to showcase young talent and open up opportunities for both the next generation of the built environment professionals and the city administration: opportunity in the job market for the students; and opportunity to access technical expertise from the universities at very little cost by Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA). This vital partnership has not been realized yet.

In their “Sustainable City Year Program” (SCYP), the University of Oregon have stated the same problem this way… “Cities often lack the funds and knowledge to implement innovative sustainability projects… college students have professional-level training and a need for practical work…” SCYP is enabling cities to reach their sustainability goals in an affordable manner while transforming higher education into an arena where students can learn through real-life problem solving. This initiative has useful lessons for built environment faculties in Ugandan universities as well as for KCCA.

This travel fellowship proposal is for a gap-bridging visit to Portland, Oregon, one of the cleanest, most livable cities in the world with four main objectives: (i) to appreciate through direct observation the operational organization of the Sustainable City Year Program at the University of Oregon; (ii) to participate in the 51st International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference (2014); (iii) to share knowledge gained from the visit with built environment students in Ugandan universities through a workshop presentation at Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi; and (iv) to report proceedings and outcomes of the fellowship to the Berkeley Travel Fellowship Committee.

Objective (i): (June 2-22, 2014). To appreciate SCYP is to understand a development paradigm leveraging architecture and design to address two competing alternative economic policy issues - longer-term strategic investment against recurrent programming - for a city like Kampala which is grappling with a restrictive budget. One example of the dichotomous challenge is the choice to fund consultants with the right expertise for city planning while arresting runaway unemployment among highly educated young people vis-à-vis infrastructure rehabilitation and development including ridding city streets of ditch-size potholes, procuring drugs for congested public health centers, and constructing and furnishing classrooms for an overwhelmed universal primary and secondary education program among many others. This objective will be met through contact, that has already been established, with Dr. Bob Choquett (, the SCYP program manager at the University of Oregon (Eugene).

The budget for this objective is as follows: (a) Return Air Ticket (EBB-PDX-EBB) = US$ 2,174.00 (Brussels Airlines/United Airlines); (b) Internal Travel (Portland-Eugene-Portland) and others = US$ 250.00 (Amtrak Cascades); (c) Meals for 20 days = US$ 400.00; and (d) Accommodation in Eugene for 20 days = US$ 480.00. Total (i) = US$ 3,304.00

Objective (ii): (June 8-12, 2014). To participate in the 51st International Making Cities Livable (IMCL) Conference (2014) is to get the rare opportunity to listen to, exchange ideas with and learn from the leading proponents of sustainable healthful cities such as urban designers, planners, and public officials from North America and Europe. A discussion on adopting equitable planning, architecture and urban design priorities has been particularly emphasized by Dr Crowhurst Lennard, the Director of IMCL Council. Confirmation of participation is by registration (

The budget for this objective is as follows: (a) Conference Registration Fees (Student-Non Presenter) = US$ 195.00 Total (ii) = US$ 195.00

Objective (iii): (September 2014). To share knowledge gained from the visit with built environment students in Ugandan universities will be the first firm step towards creating a generation of built environment professionals who are aware of and prepared to take a stand for the citizen's right to healthful, livable settings within Uganda's cities and in the countryside.

The budget for this objective is as follows: (a) Sundry stationery = US$ 20.00; (b) Computer and LCD projector hire = US$ 30.00; (c) Main Hall hire (3 hours) = US$ 30.00. Total (iii) = US$ 80.00

Objective (iv): (July 15, 2014). To report proceedings and outcomes of the fellowship to the Berkeley Travel Fellowship Committee is an accountability issue. It is to recognize the universality of our responsible utilization of every resource in our trust, whether natural or manufactured. Above all, however, it will be an opportunity to express a profound gratitude using an appropriate medium.

The budget for this objective is as follows: (a) Electronic archival media (mass storage hard disk) = US$ 120.00. Total (iv) = US$ 120.00 Grand Total [total (i)+(ii)+(iii)+(iv)] = US$ 3,699.00.

Ultimately, visiting Portland city and being able to participate in the conference will bring the awareness of how the problems affecting Kampala, at present, can either be restrained or eradicated.

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